Social Structures of Accumulation

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Wed Sep 5 21:24:31 MDT 2001

Hi Jim,

As far as I know, Regulation Theory of the French Marxist school
(particularity Aglietta's) resembles Gordon's notion of social structures
of accumulation. As you know, regulation  theory studies capitalism's long
wave dynamics by focusing on the interaction between cyclical, structural
and institutional factors. The key question in this theory is the issue of
how inherently unstable capitalist economy creates to maintain the order
for the reproduction of unequal social relations. Thus, the major
organizing forces of capital accumulation are identified: the money (credit
system), competition, wage labor, state (monetary authorities+Fed), private
property, the international division of labor. The theory argues that each
of these forces are subject to change and reflect adjustments in response
to cyclical tensions of the capitalist economy. For example, though Pijl's
book _Transnational Classes and International Relations_ is written along
the lines of  regulatory approach (which Pijl names as the "disciplinary"
force of capital accumulation, analyzing the changing ideology of ruling
class composition as well class conflict with each crisis), the book
applies a Gramscian historical materialism by investigating the role of
counter-hegemonic forces against the discipline of capital. The general
problem with regulation theory is that it has a tendency to reify
superstructures, whereas it offers little analytical attention to how to
organize against capitalism and promote change. So, politics and
revolutionary agency are hardly present in the theory. There is a good
discussion of  Gordon's accumulation thesis in Joshua Goldstein's book
_Long Cycles_. Goldstein classifies Marxist theories of crisis.
Particularly, the debate between Mandel and Gordon is worth considering
(where Mandel seems to be warning that regulation theory institutionalizes
what drives accumulation--the class conflict).

Regarding regimes of accumlation, Pijl identifies four ideal types of
control as the expressions of general capitalist interest on a
transnational (and national ) level: 1) liberal internationalism (British
hegemony)  2) state monopoly tendency ( Lenin's observations on
inter-capitalist conflict during WWI) 3) corporate liberalism (in the
context of Wilsonianism/ Keynesian welfare state/US hegemony/Bretton Woods)
4) neo-liberalism (restructuring of US  hegemony/capital as a counter
offensive to the relative decline of US power with the crisis of the
Bretton Woods fixed exchange regime and gold standart in 1971-73)

Just some preliminary remarks

bye, Xxxx

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

 >I am curious if
> anyone is looking at these shows as a manifestation of "necessary"
> superstructural changes and other structural changes as part of the
> "social structures of accumulation" related to neo-liberalism
> and monopoly capitalist globalization.
> Any references gratefully appreciated.
> Jim Craven

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